Today’s Saint

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January 2 | Wisdom

Saint Basil the Great

A.D. 329–379

There is an enormous difference between knowledge and wisdom. Google has plenty of information, but it has no wisdom.

Wisdom is not the amassing of knowledge. Wisdom is truth lived. Take the Wise Men, for instance. They only knew one thing about the Messiah: if they followed the star, they would find him. The chief priests had much more knowledge. They could have recited every passage from their sacred scriptures that related to the coming of the Messiah, including the place of his birth. But they did not live according to what they knew.

Saint Basil the Great followed his star. He was a man who possessed extraordinary knowledge, but his true virtue was wisdom. Born into a rich family, Basil received the best education money could buy. He took that knowledge and applied it to the most important moral and theological questions of his time. Thanks to his wisdom, the heresy of Arianism (which denied the divinity of Jesus) was defeated and we now have the Nicene Creed, the most pivotal expression of the Catholic faith.

But Saint Basil’s wisdom extended beyond councils and creeds. He founded one of the first known hospitals: the Basiliad. Under Basil’s wise guidance, this institution cared for the poor, the dying, and even educated people so they could work and earn a living.

We live in an era of nearly limitless knowledge, and a poverty of wisdom. Today, most Americans have access to more information than Saint Basil could ever have dreamed of. It is time to reclaim wisdom, and actually live out what we know. If enough of us live with wisdom, we’ll unleash a tidal wave of goodness.

What am I learning right now that can help me make the world a better place? How can I grow in wisdom by using my knowledge for effective action?

Today, and every day, I have all the knowledge I need to live wisely.

This reflection is brought to you from book title.

Patron Saint of: Hospital Administrators, Reforms, Monks, and Education

Symbols: Scrolls

Feast Day: January 2

Feast Day Shared by: Saint Gregory the Theologian

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